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A trip to the tip of Borneo

20th January, 2017


Have a spare weekend with not much to do? Take a drive to the north of Sabah to land’s end or more commonly known as the tip of Borneo. It is also known to the locals as Tanjung Simpang Mengayau and it’s about 198km from Kota Kinabalu.

Leaving Kota Kinabalu, travel north and head towards Tuaran town (34km). There are a number of roads you could use, but the best would be the coastal road that goes past the Rasa Ria resort.

Once past Tuaran, just keep heading for Kota Belud, which is the next town (49km) and look out for signs to Kudat Town. Along the way, you will pass many roadside stalls selling local fruits, barbecued sweet corn, fried tapioca and banana crisp, which can be either sweet or spicy.

There are also various snacks made from locally grown peanuts. Some are just steamed in their shells, while others are roasted, and some have a coating of garlic flavoured flour batter (a must try) and, of course, the ever-popular peanut brittle. Other stalls sell various baskets, winnowing trays and local handicraft made by the local Rungus people who inhabit the Kudat and Kota Marudu area.

The scenery on route varies as you drive through rice fields, fruit orchards and past local villages. Most the journey is on flat ground with a few low hills, but the road is in a pretty good condition, so it’s an easy drive.

From Kota Belud, it is 119km to Kudat town and should take you just about two hours. There are a number of modern longhouses on the main road to Kudat that you are welcome to visit or you could visit one of the traditional longhouses built for the tourists, closer to the Tip of Borneo.

Keep a look out for the signpost to the Tip of Borneo, it will be on your left if you are heading to Kudat from Kota Belud. Turn in and just follow the signs. Soon you will come to a T-junction with a number of signs and you will notice that they give opposing directions to the tip.

No worries, as all roads lead to Rome … or should I say the “Tip of Borneo” , so take either one as they are both scenic and will get you to your destination .

There are some beautiful deserted beaches as you get closer to the tip, and the beaches here are usually lined with casuarina trees that catch the breeze and make a sort of humming sound.

Drive up the road to the end. Park your car at the designated car park and follow the elegant footpath that leads to the monument at the tip. This is a beautiful globe with a bronze plaque that has been erected to mark the spot at latitude 7 degrees north and Longitude 116 degrees east.

A map featuring the island of Borneo is embossed in bronze and laid on a flat surface at an angle with inscriptions to mark the northern tip of Borneo. A bit further at the highest point of the look out, a gazebo has been built and named in honour of Tomanggong Kurantud, a brave Rungus warrior who led his people in a battle against invading pirates in the area around Tanjung Simpang Mangayau.

Looking out towards the horizon, it makes you wish you were an eagle and able to just fly off into the blue yonder. Down below, waves crash on the rocks jutting out to sea, as the waters of the South China Sea meet the Sulu Sea. Should you decide to stay the night instead of returning to the city, there are a number of places that offer accommodation and meals from Back Packers to traditional bamboo chalets and the latest addition is the Borneo Tip Lodge.

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